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How to Catch the Eye of a UK Greetings Card Buyer

Published on 26/06/2023

Greeting cards by Advocate Art illustrators Ray Shuell, Catherine Worsley, Lizzie Walkley, Millicent Venton, Louise Anglicas, Jenny Wren, Kathryn Selbert, Joanne Cave, and Di Brookes

How to Catch the Eye of a UK Greetings Card Buyer
Teacher: Deborah Millinship, Illustration Agent at Advocate Art Limited

So what makes a great Greeting card? Working in the Greetings industry for the last 12 years has given me great insight into what buyers want to see in their next best-selling range! I love working with illustrators and developing their portfolios to make them appealing to clients. The greetings industry is huge and competition is high, and every occasion warrants a card, so my advice to illustrators is to be original, follow the latest trends, create designs that appeal to the mass market and make sure you know your target age and gender.

When you come to create a design, think about the subject matter. What would be appropriate for that occasion and season? The subject matter is so important to the end consumer when they are purchasing for a loved one, a family member, a friend or even more on trend, their pets! Store shelves and online sites are packed full of options, so make it stand out, choose your colours wisely and make sure it is appropriate to the subject matter. Be mindful when using on-trend colour pallets. Don’t overcomplicate the design, keep it clean and concise.

Greeting cards by Advocate Art illustrators Simon Treadwell (left), and Joanne Cave (right)

Traditional sends should be beautiful and idyllic. For example, Christmas should be warm and cosy for those interior scenes, and a snowy wintery landscape depicts the perfect Christmas everyone is hoping for. A lovely sentimental verse also makes for a great pairing.

Consider the use of characters – if cute, you can show them in either whimsical or traditional styles. Whimsical cute being more considered, small scale, and simple in style. Sketchy with limited soft colour palettes, and the scenes in which they are placed is important. Traditional cute is fluffy, and more detailed such as soft knitted teddy bears.

Greeting cards by Advocate Art Illustrators Gareth Williams (left) and Nichola Cowdery (right)

Contemporary artwork could be more trend-led with the use of an on-trend colour palette, and witty puns and humour cards could relate to current events.

As important as the sentiment, consider the font used, does it sit well with the style and subject matter? If you don’t use text, then leave space for a caption. Most single cards are packed tight in shelving so most captions are at the top of the card for impact.

Lastly, think about your work as a collection so consider more than one card, buyers will be looking for a theme or a collection for seasonal multiview boxed cards.

Now it’s up to you to prepare some great ideas and illustrate those next best-selling greeting cards!

For more free tips for how to improve your creative design skills subscribe to our ITSme Learning Newsletter!

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